Eighteen village councils in Uttar Pradesh have written to the state Pollution Control Board, which granted a licence to Coca-Cola to operate in the area, asking them to stop the company from extracting any more groundwater from there locality. They have claimed that the factory’s over-use has led to the depletion of their water resources, reported Reuters. Located in the Mehdiganj area of Varanasi district, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the villages are inhabited by largely agrarian communities that are dependent on groundwater for nearly all their needs.

"Elected village council heads represent the voice of the people, and they want Coca-Cola to pack up and leave. The villagers have to make do with less water because Coca-Cola mines groundwater in a water-scarce area for profit," said Amit Srivastava of the California-based India Resource Center, which is supporting the village councils. Coca-Cola uses the same groundwater source as the villagers to meet its production needs, environmentalists say.

The Central Ground Water Authority, which declared the Arajiline block, where the bottling plant in located, "over-exploited" in 2011 has strengthened this strengthened this stand over the years. However, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt ltd have rebutted this by stating a 2012 survey from the Central Ground Water Board that found no evidence that the company was responsible for the scarcity. "The Central Ground Water Board observed that this depletion was not due to withdrawal of ground water by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCCBPL) plant," said a company statement emailed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.